Possible to get a programming job without a CS degree?

jonatron5jonatron5 Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
I am currently in school majoring in IT. I started out wanting to do computer science but the calculus scared me off. Now that im a junior and have gotten my feet wet in the IT world, so to speak. I have found i really enjoy programming. And im pretty good at it too. I am in the second half of my first programming class, doing C# and i have already seen some amazing potential here.

I had sort of decided i wanted to be a programmer but i got scared for a minute when I realised i am not a computer science major.

So if i applied for a programming job with a BS in IT and A+ Net+ Security+ Would i have anychance to get it? Or are those pirely for the computer science guys?


  • BerkshireHerdBerkshireHerd Member Posts: 185
    It might be harder for you to get past initial resume screening but should not deter you from pursing if that what you like and want to do. My advice it build up a portfolio of programming and be active on github type places.

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  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    You will probably be fine with just a BS in IT, but its going to look alot better and help you out more if your degree says Computer Science. It is just learning a bunch of math equations and learning how to apply them. People hear Calculus and get scared for some reason. Just do it if your serious about becoming a programmer and want the best chance to succeed.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Typically programmers don't really go after certifications, they typically work on projects to show something like a "portfolio" of programs they have written. Mostly open source stuff and you involvement into such projects. So while people that hold certifications are asked technical questions in interviews, programmers are asked programming questions like what algorithm you would use here or how would you call this function or what would you do to prevent buffer overflows or how would you check your program for memory errors etc. That's why CS majors are heavy in calculus and algorithm design. You need to know how to translate ideas to math problems and then be able to code those problems into solutions.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure / Core Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016 Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    Being a programmer without a degree isn't all that hard, there are lots of software developers out there that never went to school or had any formal training, they just coded as a hobby/passion, and let it build from there. However, as TheFORCE and NetworkNewb mentioned, being a programmer without any real math (at least up through differential equations, linear algebra, and discreet math,) is very tough. While it's true that in today's world you can get by learning the basics of a programming language and letting your environment - like Visual Studio - take care of the details, if you want to do anything beyond debugging someone else's syntax or writing the same kinds of basic apps over and over, you'll need that math.

    There comes a point in software development where the syntax and language is secondary, but the mathematical logic and understanding of the problems you're trying to solve become much, MUCH more important. That being said, if you're willing to work hard on your coding skills, why not whip out that #2 pencil and work on those math skills, too? Heck, if you find yourself doing well in both, you might even be able to reconsider that CS degree.

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  • $bvb379$bvb379 Member Posts: 155
    I have a buddy who worked in pharm sales but always coded in C as a hobby. When Swift came out he switched over that and has been an app developer for the past 3 years. He just sits at home, codes, and is well compensated for it. As an addition to coding, you usually need to learn how to use the frameworks that go along with coding.....Xcode, Eclipse, Visual Studios, Django....you get the point. I have heard and read from managers saying that CS grads can't code anyways. Taking a 6 month Java class is the same as everything else, you do it for 6 months, if you don't continue to do it, then you lose that knowledge. As slowhand said, if you have a passion for it, you can get it done. I am a firm believer that anyone can learn anything. Schooling is not the end all.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    You should be just fine with an IT degree. Typically I see postings for programmers that say CS or other technical degree. What I would do, though, is see if your degree program has a software development specialization or minor in Computer Science. Some schools do not require the math in order to get the minor or have a special math class for people seeking the minor that isn't as difficult. Regardless, I have known many programmers with all types of degrees and ultimately experience dictated whether or not they got the job. Sign up for git and start posting your code, that will give you a portfolio that potential employers can review.
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